As the sun set over Rambuttri Rd in Bangkok, we headed to The Chabad house, where we joined another 150 or so Israeli travelers for Kabbalat Shabbat services followed by a dinner. Most of the people there were young backpackers, such as ourselves, and there were also a few older visitors. We immediately scouted out some new friends, Miri & Davidi, a couple our age on a two week vacation. Dinner was rather quick, and we were surprised that there wasn’t a true main course, only soup, salads and challah. We remained after the meal and relaxed with our new friends, and eventually made our way downstairs to the Rabbi’s residence (one floor below) for an “Oneg Shabbat”. We joked that perhaps the main course would be served there.
The Rabbi invited various guests to join in sharing a story or song with the crowd (which was at this point about 70 people). More challah and salads were served, and eventually (2 hours later) yummy chicken soup made its way to our table. Eventually (just before midnight), as we were about to leave, the main course was served – chicken, rice, and a kugel. At this point there were about 50 people there, who all enjoyed the benefits of their perseverance. From conversations with out her guests, it seems this is the norm at Chabad in Bangkok. Finally, confused, well fed, and ready for bed, we made our way through the bustling street back to our guesthouse.
Exhausted from our travels, and thrown off by the time warp of air travel and midnight dinner, we slept in (unintentionally) until 2pm. Lunch consisted of a pomelo (purchased on the street the day before) and a bag of chips. Chocolate for dessert was compliments of Austrian Airlines.
After Shabbat was over we went to explore the area in search of dinner. We walked the length of Khao San Rd (gross), and looped around back to Rambuttri, where we were happy to discover a night market of street carts offering all kinds of food and sweets, with mostly locals hanging around and eating at little tables scattered in between the carts. Dinner consisted of a sweet mini-taco-ish pancake filled with coconut filling and shredded sweetened egg-yolk, corn kernels topped with condensed milk, sugar and salt, and a squash filled with squash pudding, served warm. To top off the evening, we headed back to our massage place for a authentic Thai massage (think knuckle cracking from a Thai woman perched on top of you, pulling and stretching in different directions). Felix loved it; Jordan preferred the foot massage.
We ended the evening with a fruit shake at one of the tourist haunts with our new friends Miri & Davidi. It was nice to relax, speak Hebrew, and for the first time feel like we’re on vacation.